Re: Is America already a fundamentalist State?
Originally Posted by Carrera
"You seemed disturbed that he was allowed to do this, but I was no less disturbed that he could be arrested for expressing his opinions in a European country."
He was promoting extreme corporal punishment of minors by parents. As I said before, German psychologists studied all of this many many years ago and concluded this kind of corporal punishment was harmful. To put it bluntly, there were cases of adults going on to develop confused sexual (masochistic tendencies) as a consequence of what they called the English syndrome. It's the old story about the ex public schoolboy who goes on to visit a Dominatrix or what have you in later life.
The reason C.P. was banned in this country many years ago was probably due to proper studies and evidence produced by specialists and experts. So, I think the guy in the documentary should have been arrested and charged, not for smacking, but for going way beyond that limit. I'd also invite anyone to check out Billy Connoly's testimony of his own schooling and how he later went on to seek therapy in the U.S.
I just don't see why you find fundamentalist Christianity to be such a "dominant and worrying force" within the USA. I don't see it that way at all, and that's not because I happen to be a Christian. Here in the US, about 65% of the population claims to attend regular religious services. That includes all religions present within the country. So, it would stand to reason that the number of Christians could be quite lower. That just doesn't translate to the fundies having an iron grip on the tiller for the ship of state. Our President sometimes says things that are easy to skew and quote out of context.
Not to put words in your mouth, but I think a great deal of your concern comes from the fact that Americans tend to be more outspoken about their faith. This is especially true here in the South. My friend who lives across the pond in Essex told me that faith is considered a much more private matter over there. Billy Graham might could come over there and fill Wembley Stadium and encourage people to turn to Christ, and that would be ok. But for an individual like myself to start asking strangers about God might be seen as pushy and nosy. Some would be outraged and deeply offended.
To address some other points you made:
Stadium religious revivals- These have been taking place for many years across the country. I attended one at Neyland Stadium over 10 years ago. Once it was over, Neyland Stadium reverted to being the home field of the UT Vols football team. I'm not aware of any such structure being repurposed for religious use. Billy Graham could hold a rally in Yankee Stadium, but once he was done, it would return to its use as a baseball field. The same goes for all the other football stadiums, concert halls, and hockey rinks across the country.
Rings promoting chastity- this has been going on since my mother was growing up, and might have gone on long before that. It's hardly new. The Prez has mentioned it in a positive way, but so what? Like anything else, those who make the promise don't always follow through, but what's wrong with trying.
Evolution and Creationism in public schools- a school system in Kansas and another in Georgia tried to add items to textbooks that would state that Creationism and Evolution are to be taught as theories. Neither would be taught as superior to the other. Two school systems out of no telling how many hardly constitutes a religious revolution. For better or worse, it's unlikely that Evolution could be eliminated from public school textbooks. Attempts to do so would be met with hosility from special interest groups such as the ACLU.
Terrifying stage dramas based on Hell- this is another homeschool thing, isn't it? Some churches will stage dramatic presentations around Halloween, which is their right under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. But no one's required to view them. If you don't agree with that sort of thing, don't go. I've never been to one as I'd rather spend the time doing other things, like working on my bikes and cars. A popular humorist duo in this region has a skit that sends up churches that put on elaborate dramas that are used to point out how bad everyone else is.
Corporal punishment- this is not nearly as popular as it once was. Few public schools still allow it, and the same goes for private schools. My memory tells me that I was rarely spanked, if ever, and not with any spanking instrument. I've heard of the so-called English Syndrome, and can't help but think of that line in Another Brick in The Wall about fat and psychopathic wives. I don't have any basis for this, but it would stand to reason that far more people who were spanked severely grew up to be well-balanced individuals without the need for the services of a dominaitrix. If that were not the case, they would probably have a listing in the Yellow Pages <joke>.
The point I'm trying to make is that you can't paint fundamentalist Christians with the same broad brush, the same as all Americans aren't the same.
Now, don't take this the wrong way, but I have to ask. Why does this bother you so much? You live across the pond, and if you were to ever visit us, it's not likely that you would catch fundamentalism even if someone sneezed on you. Some parts of the country are more religious than others, so you might not hear anything about it depending on where you were.
It's not likely that we're going to sway each other's opinion, but it can be fun to try. I'd like to think that we could be having this discussion down at your local over a nice pint of ale, but only you could tell me yay or nay on that.